Get Ready For The “First” First Selectman’s Debate of 2021

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Oct 052021

Make sure you are informed before voting for the Orange First Selectman in the upcoming 2021 election.

The Orange Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend the Chamber’s First Selectman Debate at the High Plains Community Center on Thursday, October 7 at 7 p.m.


Debate questions will focus on Orange Business and Community topics.

We hope to see you there!

News From The Orange Senior Center

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Apr 212021

High Plains Community Center

From the Orange Senior Center:

Senior Center 

All senior center activities, classes are limited, and trips are canceled. Please check the senior center website at  www.orange-ct.gov/782/community-services for further information. Or feel free to call the senior center office at 203-891-4784.

New Software

During the Covid quarantine, we stayed busy. Orange Community Services installed new software. So, come by and receive a key tag to use at a new kiosk which will be in the HPCC front lobby. You will use the key card to sign in for classes, activities and volunteering and other activities. 

Virtual Classes

If you would like to participate in David Chandler’s Tai Chi via Zoom—call the office with your email and we will ask the instructor to email you an invite.

If you would like to participate in Chair Exercise while at home, visit the Town Website at Orange-ct.gov, and under Departments, you will see a link to the Senior Center. There you will find the Chair Exercise video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XklI-X6K7jc. Chair Exercise has resumed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:00 am. Details are subject to change as warranted. 

Hiking Group Returns

Join us for the return of the Hiking Group! Marianne Bauer and Judy Fitol will lead you on a 2 mile-ish, 1-hour walk every Thursday at 10:00 am. Facial coverings required.

May 6: Beaver Brook 553 West Ave, Milford

May 13: Fitzgerald Track 112-126 Beecher Rd, Woodbridge 

May 20: Orange Triangle Trail (aka Wepawaug Trails) 854-842  Mapledale Rd, Orange

May 27: Maltby Lakes Route 34, West Haven – Parking access road: east of Plainfield Ave on the north side of Derby Ave/Rte 34, West Haven 


In order to begin to reopen the senior center for activities, we must adhere to state guidelines. At this point in time, we must wear facial coverages and practice 6 feet of social distancing. All classes must be signed up for in advance in the senior center office. 

Some classes are coming back, and others are planned to be back

Afghan Ladies 4th Monday at 1:00 pm in Senior Lounge. The next meeting is on January 25.

Bocce Wednesdays at 10:00 am.

Chair Exercise Mon, Wed & Fri at 11:00 am with Anne in the Gym

Laughter Yoga meets Wednesday at 11:00am 

Yoga Monday with Andrea at 9:00 am in room 3 & 5 

Yoga Wednesday with Andrea at 9:30 am in room 3 & 5 

Arts & Crafts with Suzanne

Join us for a fun-filled Rock Painting project with Suzanne as she leads Arts & Crafts class on Monday, May 10 at 12:00 noon. Class size is limited to 10 people. Pre-registration is required. Call 203-891-4784 to sign up. 


Book Club via Zoom

The monthly Book Club meeting has moved onto Zoom. If you wish to participate, email Paula Samuel for a Zoom invite at paula.samuel7@gmail.com

Movie of the Month

May 14, 1:00 pm, For Love of the Game. Starring  Kevin Costner and  Kelly Preston. After 19 years of playing the game he’s loved his whole life, Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel has to decide if he’s going to risk everything and put everything out there. Due to Covid, space is limited. Social distancing and facial covering guidelines must be observed. Drinks and snacks will be served. Limit of 11 people. Call 203-891-4784 to register.

Frozen Meals

There is a special meal program consisting of a box of 5 frozen meals during the Covid-19 pandemic. We can deliver the meals, or you can come by and pick the meals up. Delivery is only available to Orange residents. Call the office to complete an application. A suggested donation of $3 per meal would be greatly appreciated. 

Community Services has an Emergency Food Bank available for Orange residents in need. Call (203) 891-4788 for assistance. 

AARP Safe Driving Courses

AARP announced that all in-person AARP activities have been canceled through September 2021. AARP Smart Driver online course is an alternative, especially for those who need to renew their car insurance discount. AARP has extended their special 25% off discount through the end of the year. Website: www.aarpdriversafety.org

Legal Clinic

We are resuming our Legal Clinic services. Attorney Floman DePaola’s office will conduct appointments via telephone on the first Wednesday of the month. Appointments will be for 1/2 an hour beginning at 9:00 am. Please call the senior center at 203-891-4788   to schedule an appointment. We will forward the schedule to the Floman DePaola office who will then contact you at the scheduled time. Please be home for the appointment. 


It is very hard to predict trips for 2021 with Covid concerns. But I would like to be optimistic that things will be more normal. I would like to offer the members some of the trips that Lilly Tours has to offer.

June 15—UNDER THE TENT AT ST CLEMENTS CASTLE with Friendship Tours, (some walking).

July 25 – BASEBALL HALL OF FAME, It is every fan’s “Field of Dreams” with its stories, legends, and magic to be passed on from generation to generation. $139 per person is due at registration. (considerable walking).

August 19—SWITZERLAND, AUSTRIA, BAVARIA with Collette Tours. (considerable walking).

September 1 or 2 AMARANTE’S ENDLESS SUMMER, with Friendship Tours (minimal walking). 

September 20—PAINTED CANYONS OF THE WEST, with Collette Tours. (considerable walking). 

September 24 -27 NIAGARA FALLS, One the most desired tourist destinations in the world. $829pp for double due at registration. (considerable walking). 

October—OKTOBERFEST @ KRUCKERS, with Friendship Tours. (considerable walking). 

Oct 6 – NEWPORT PLAYHOUSE SURF & TURF, show TBD. Enjoy a great buffet, a wonderful play at a fun-filled Cabaret! $95 per person is due at registration. (minimal walking).

November 10—USO TRIBUTE SHOW @ GRAND OAK VILLA, with Friendship Tours. ( minimal walking).

December 4 – STURBRIDGE VILLAGE “CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT”, a celebration of favorite holiday traditions, music, and food. $173 per person is due at registration. (considerable walking).

December 8—EDWARDS TWINS HOLIDAY SHOW @ AQUA TURF, with Friendship Tours. (minimal walking).

Racebrook Referendum: Do You Know What You’re Voting For?

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Feb 142021

The  Recebrook Referendum will take place at the High Plains Community Center Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A Town Meeting was held via Zoom, see link below.

After much discussion, the entire bi-partisan Board of Selectmen is in favor of the proposal.

If you are unsure of why the purchase may or may not be a good idea. Keep in mind that it will preserve the land from ever being developed. That alone from what residents have told me is enough to make them want to vote YES.

But not everyone feels that way.

See the question and answer section below for more detailed information:

My apologies for not posting it sooner. I tore a hole in my cornea and was unable to read or post anything for a few days as it was terribly sensitive to light.


Answers to your questions that have been received by email and phone calls regarding the Race Brook Country Club purchase. 

Can you explain how the bond indebtedness of $10.3 mil equates to actual cash outlay from the town budget? Can you explain the bond repayment? 

The bond payments start out at approximately $567,000 and drop to approximately $426,000 at the end of the twenty years. The lease has Race Brook paying about half the bond to start, payments will start at $250,000 per year and move to $380,000 per year for 40 years. One mil is currently about $2,000,000, so the Town would be paying about 1/8 of a mil then that amount will shrink over time as the payments from Race Brook increase. 

What is the financial impact to me the taxpayer? 

These are the current best estimate figures we have available at this time A $357,143 home assessed @70% $250,000 could be a $52 increase
A $714,286 home assessed @ 70% $500,000 could be a $105 increase
A $1,071,429 home assessed @70% $750,000 could be a $158 increase 

What does the country club pay in taxes now? Are they up to date? Will they continue to pay any taxes? 

Race Brook Country Club paid $125,323.88 in real estate taxes, and $27,617.18 in personal property taxes this past year. They are up to date. They will continue to pay only the personal property taxes. 

Are there any provisions in place to protect the Town of Orange from Race Brook going bankrupt? What will happen if Race Brook goes bankrupt? 

This is a strong reason for the Town to be proactive. If this did happen the Town would then decide the future. 

Who is responsible for the upkeep to property and buildings the Town or Race Brook? 

Race Brook is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep. There will also be an independent yearly review to make sure things are kept up. 

Will Town residents be able to play golf? 

The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. There are two other public courses in Orange, and we do not want there to be a conflict of interest or hurt their businesses. 

How is this different than the Woodbridge purchase of the Woodbridge Country Club property? 

The Town of Woodbridge bought a bankrupt property that had been closed and was not operating. The buildings were in poor condition and paid $7.4 million and put money into it and thought they could operate it. It was too far gone for the Town of Woodbridge to make it work. 

Can residents use the banquet facility? 

The banquet facility is available for rental for events, you have to contact the club. 

Who did the appraisal and review of the business operations? 

The appraisal was done by Kerin & Fazio and review of the business operations was discussed with the Town auditors. 

Will the Referendum be held via ZOOM? 

No, The Special Town Meeting being held Tuesday February 2, 2021 is being adjourned to a referendum. The Referendum will be in person on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at High Plains Community Center. Absentee ballots are available by requesting a ballot from the Town Clerk. You may do this by downloading the form from the Town of Orange website www.orange-ct.gov or by calling the Town Clerk at 203-891-4730. Absentee ballots must be returned to The Town Clerk by February 16, 2021. The ballot box outside Town Hall is also available for returning ballots for your convenience. 

Will the Town be managing the golf course and banquet facility? 

No, The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. 

Will the Town have liability costs or have to insure the property? 

The Town will ask Race Brook to indemnify us by having the Town of Orange listed as an additional insured and hold us harmless. However, it will also be on the Town’s umbrella to assure full coverage. 

When do the bond payments begin? 

That will depend on when the sale is completed, there is usually a six-month grace period before you make your first payment. The payments are scheduled to begin September 2022. 

Is Race Brook being asked to make a reserve capital fund? 

There is a provision in the draft lease that Race Brook has a capital account for maintenance and upkeep. There is also a provision that the Town has the right to do a yearly review of the property and building and notify the tenant of needs to be done, if the tenant should fail to perform The Town could have it done and charge them for the services. 

Why does Race Brook want to sell? 

Race Brook does not want to sell the bank is forcing them to pay the debt that was borrowed in 2006 for a new clubhouse and maintenance facility. That is how I found out about the situation, they were having test holes done for a subdivision on the parcel that is bounded by Race Brook Road, Shepard Lane, Lambert road, Orange Center Road, and Derby Avenue. 

Are there any environmental issues the Town may be responsible for? 

There are no issues that I am aware of. 

How is this beneficial to the Town? 

The benefit to the Town is to control the destiny of 287 acres of land and improvements for future generations. The purchase price equates to about $29,600 per acre. The Town would have the choice to leave it as open space, lease it, sell it, or develop it into something else. This is the first time the Town would have a land purchase and be paid back for buying the land. 

Town Meeting On Zoon.


Get Your Flu Shot: It’s Especially Important This Year

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Oct 022020

The Orange Visiting Nurse Association will host a Flu Clinic at High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road, on Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Be sure to bring your insurance card with you to the clinic. Wear a mask, prepare to be socially distanced.

Acceptable insurances for the flu shot vaccine are Medicare, Aetna, and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield only.

If you need more information, call 203-891-4752.

Orange Town Hall Is Open

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Jun 022020

The Orange Town Hall Offices are now Open with a strict new set of rules.

Anyone entering the building:

• MUST be wearing a mask.

• Wait outside the office doorway until he or she is asked to come in.

• Follow all state COVID-19 safety guidelines (social distancing).

Please respect the town employees and help to keep them safe in their workplace.

The Offices at High Plains Community Center also are open, with personnel on hand to answer phones, but there still are no activities at the Senior Center or Rec Department.

Please call in advance if you have any questions.


Drive Thru Food Drive A Huge Success

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May 302020

Orange Police Detective Carolyn Bailey, Youth Services Coordinator Jessica Simone, Community Services Director Joan Cretella, and Orange Food2Kids coordinator Susan vonRabenstein stood outside the High Plains Community Center on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. collecting food for Orange Food 2 Kids, and the Orange Food Bank.
Food 2 Kids is a nonprofit that was created to deliver bags of food to children in need on the weekends. However, with the coronavirus, the need has become full-time.
The OPD is asking for individually packaged foods and snacks. Meals that can be prepared with no or water only. Any other donations that are received will be donated to the Orange Food Bank.

Simone, vonRabenstein, and Officer Bailey show off the day’s Food2Kids donations

By the end of the four-hour collection period, the front room of the center that used to house the Probate Office was filled with bags of food for distribution.

“This is just from TODAY! A million thank yous from Orange Food2Kids and the Orange Food Bank! This community is so very generous.” vonRabenstein wrote on the Food2Kids Facebook page. “Thank you to OPD Det. Carolyn Bailey for putting this together and getting the word out!

Orange Community Women Present Mad Science!

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Jan 232020

Here is a fun family event for all ages, mark your calendar for Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. when the Orange Community Women present Mad Science at the High Plains Community Center, 525 Orange Center Road.

Mad Science stage shows have been captivating audiences of all ages for more than 30 years. 

This spectacular show thrills audiences with impressive science experiments including foggy dry ice storms and giant beach balls floating in the air.

Advance tickets are $5 (or $7 at the door) get yours now by contacting Michelle at 203-605-4383 or by e-mail at fbailey1@optonline.net or from any member of OCW

Dress For The Cold, Come For The Displays. Tractor Parade Dec. 8

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Dec 082019

As we announced last Monday, an Orange Holiday Festival fan-favorite event, The Lighted Tractor Parade, now in its third year, will take place after all.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli notified Orange Live of the new, complete event details.

He said, “There is a makeup event this Sunday at the fairgrounds. The park and Rec Dept will have hotdogs and drinks. They will be holding an outdoor movie night for the kids with a couple of Disney movies.”

“At 4:30 p.m., the lighted tractors will parade up Orange Center Road to the Green, wait for the police to open the road, clear traffic, then close again so the tractors will return to the fairgrounds,” he said. “A new event is being born!”

 Tractor Participants will line up on the Basketball Ball Court Side of Community Center at 4:00 p.m.

The Parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by drive-in holiday movies beginning at 6:00 PM at High Plains.  Hot dogs, chili, hot chocolate, and popcorn will be available.
This morning the temperature was in the teens, but luckily, by the time this event begins, it will be closer to 40, or at least the upper 30s. But you really need to be prepared. Dress appropriately for the activities you’re planning to enjoy.
If your kids choose to be outside, bring waterproof blankets to cover the ground on which to put warm blankets for the movie viewing. Dress the kids in snowsuits and snow boots so they’ll be toasty warm during the movies.
Come, enjoy and spread the word!

Important ELECTION DAY Reminder

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Nov 032019

Both candidates for the first selectman office would like to remind all Orange residents that EVERY voting district will be casting their votes at High Plains Community Center on Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

If you are accustomed to voting at Mary L. Tracy School and forget about the change in location, no worries, just follow the signs directing you to High Plains, 525 Orange Center Road.

If, for some reason, you still haven’t chosen a candidate, remember to watch the short video clips from the debates that we are posting here on Orange Live.

Each question is posted on separate video clips (and all are labeled with the subject), so you can find the answers to whatever is important to you.



Chamber Debate: Development On Arterial Roads

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Nov 012019

The Orange Chamber of Commerce hosted a first selectman’s candidates debate between Incumbent Jim Zeoli and challenger Jody Dietch.

In this video, they share their thoughts on developments on the arterial roads between Route one and Route 34.

HERE is a link to the video so you can hear their responses.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. All Orange Districts will vote at High Plains Community Center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.